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Legal & Law

What Happens if Bill for Marriage Equality Becomes Law? 2017-10-24 03:49:52
Australians are almost at the end of same-sex marriage plebiscite voting period. The results of the postal survey will be announced on November 15. In September Australians were asked: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Snap polls indicate an overwhelming majority of Australians are in favour of same-sex marriage. The postal vote came after the High Court dismissed a challenge against it.

The new law will have significant implications for same-sex couples. Marriage equality will allow same-sex couples to have the benefit of rights to their partner’s estate and superannuation in the event of the death of their partner. Applying for a Family Law property settlement could get simpler. If marriage equality laws in Australia are passed, same-sex couples who choose to marry will no longer be required to prove they meet eligibility requirements to apply for a property settlement. They do not have to provide evidence that they are in a committed relationship.

Same-sex couples who were married overseas will be able to divorce in Australia. Legalising same-sex marriage will allow already married same-sex couples to divorce following 12 months’ separation; as heterosexual married couples are currently able to do. As marriage is presently defined as being between a man and a woman, same sex couples cannot marry here nor is there any legal recognition if they have been married overseas. If they separate they cannot get divorced.

If a majority of people vote in favour of same-sex marriage, a vote will then be held in parliament. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he expects a majority ‘yes’ vote will lead to making same-sex marriage legal. If Australians vote against same-sex marriage, Mr Turnbull has said the parliamentary vote will not proceed.

For people in a same-sex relationship the vote will have long-term implications. Family lawyers Watts McCray will be able to advise clients on the particular circumstances of their case, in light of the current law, as well as potential changes in the law in the future. Watts McCray has been at the forefront of making Australians aware of the latest in the world of family law. Their resource filled, dedicated website aims to make things simple for those looking for information on all types of family law matters. The website also addresses issues such as child support, spousal maintenance, child custody, divorce and property.

To get advice on any family law matter or to make a new will contact Watts McCray. Watts McCray Lawyers, with offices located in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast, Parramatta, Norwest, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest, are a leading specialist family law firm.

For more resources related to divorce:

Press Information
Watts McCray Lawyers
Level 15, The Chambers

370 Pitt Street

Sydney, New South Wales 2000


02 9635 4266

Published by
Cam Wilkes

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